Fam: Orchidaceae   Lindl. 
Genus:   Orchis L.

Orchis purpurea Huds.

FL Angl ed. 1 (1762) 334;O. fusca Jacq. Flora Austr. IV (1776) 307; Hayek Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. Ill (1933) 390

English Name: Lady Orchid


Photo: Pryce Buckle


Orchis purpurea reaches on average 30–100 centimetres (12–39 in) of height. The leaves are broad and oblong-lanceolate, forming a rosette about the base of the plant and surrounding the flower spike. They are fleshy and bright green, and can be up to 15 cm long. The inflorescence is densely covered with up to 50 flowers. The sepals and upper petalsare violaceous or purple (hence the Latin namepurpurea of the species). The flower's labellum is pale pink or white, with a center spotted by clusters of violaceous or purple hairs. It is divided into three lobes; the outer two are small and narrow, and the inner is large, rounded, and heart-shaped. Flowering occurs in late April to June.

Flowering Time: April - June

Reference: Wikipedia, “Flora of Republic Bulgaria”, vol. II, Bulg. Acad. Sci. Sofia, (1964)   

Distribution in Bulgaria: All of Bulgaria. Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc  


This orchid can be found in most parts of Europe, northern Africa, Turkey, and the Caucasus. Lady orchids usually grow in woodlands, in the oak forests, in slope and in the meadows, but occasionally occur on savanna. They prefer limestone or chalk soil, in shady or sunny places, at an altitude of 0–1,350 metres (0–4,430 ft) above sea level.

Conservation status and threats:  not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. Законодателство на Република България: Закон за биологичното разнообразие

Photo(s) taken on May, 16. 2005, Murgash

Medical plant:

Placed by kind permission of the proprietor

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